Isthmus (Movement 1) (2005)4:10
The entire sound-world of Isthmus is derived from solo and ensemble performances of three string instruments: the violin, viola and cello. Transformations in the first movement maintain a close relationship to the timbre and performance techniques of these instruments, extending both natural morphologies and textures, yet often regressing to reveal the source recordings. On these occasions physical spaces, and the performer‚s position within them, can be identified along with references to Modern and contemporary string music.
Transformations become more complex in the second movement, offering a variety of timbral, rhythmic and sonic interactions, which digress from the original performances. The physical spaces become virtual, and instruments lose their static positions, developing abstract spatial movements. References to the source material become less frequent and transformed sounds establish distinct pulses and morphologies that evolve independently.
As the third movement begins, Isthmus has become a purely virtual space with few references to its source. The title of the piece refers to this progression but suggests that the intimacy of Isthmus is beset at both ends by an immense and impending mass.
Winner of Residency Prize at Bourges International Competition
The source material was in a variety of different locations, both studio and environmental, using a range of different recording equipment. These recordings were transferred to a low-cost PC, an AMD Athlon 1.06GHz running Windows XP. Sound Forge and Wavelab were using to carry out the initial mixing and signal processing. The majority of the sound processing and transformations were carried out using Sound Loom, a graphic interface for the Composer‚s Desktop Project (CDP). The structural mixing and mastering was completed using Sound Forge and ProTools.
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